Montego 20 - opinions - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-09-2015 Thread Starter
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Montego 20 - opinions

Hello Everybody!
I am new to the forum and have been enjoying the reads for sometime. I decided to join because I have a question on something I could not find an answer for via search. I have found some bits and pieces to my questions from all-mighty Google, but would like to maybe get some firm insight from those with actual knowledge and experience.
I am really interested in learning to sail, single-handedly, a good boat for the first timer. I am no stranger to boating (power boating), boat building (stitch/glue skiffs and consoles). I have always wanted to learn to sail, and want to start with something a new-comer would take to learning on their own.
OK will ALL THAT said - I am looking into a Montego 20. On the internet I see a lot of positives - but also some groaning (mostly the handling of the main under stiff winds). I would like to know if it would be a good boat following these characteristics:

- Ease of learning (to a new sailor that wants to learn alone), setting the sails, general getting accustomed, etc

- Handling NEAR COAST offshore (Jacksonville-to S Atlantic of FL - no trips to Azores planned )

- Ability to raise mast as one able bodied male

- "Some" accommodations.. like simple things to handle a long weekend or week stay out and about - taking naps, porta-potti use below

- Trailering with a 4 cylinder Ford Ranger (not essential but would make life easier)

- Any other general thoughts about a NUB vs. Leaning on their own on this boat (or suggestion on a good boat)

- Any replies from someone that was in a similar situation - and went through it and what they think the would do the same/different

-Any and all advice - persuasion, dissuasion, praise, insult, encouragement, scoffs, etc. - Thanks to all Sailors!
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-19-2015
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Back in the early 80s when I was just a fetus in my moms belly my dad and mom went sailing every weekend even when she was pregnant and almost due with me (wish I could upload the picture

As a baby and Kid I got to learn and grow up sailing every weekend on the montego.

It was Named the moon pie (we are from the south and attend Mardi Gras. Where they throw moonpies at your head)
It was my first sailing experience
And in the gulf it was good times
But not all the time

They sailed it in tropical storms and would take it up from sea to delta/ estuary far the river and tie it off to trees when the Hurricanes would hit and flood the rivers, but it was safer than having it at the municipal pier marina.
The boat was later sold a few years down the road and is still out there being sailed 30 years later
my dad is mostly into sea kayaking now

Both parents medical pros, they were always required to work mandatory when hurricanes hit

My dad said she(moonpie) was always a pain to track but I didn't think so, maybe he got spoiled when we joined a yacht club and tried a beneteau (that is still on the hard today)

Not sure what else to say it was a good weekender very small below deck with a port o potty and nothing fancy very Spartan

If you get this boat you get it to stay in the cockpit more than anything
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-19-2015
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FYI we didn't trailer it was cheaper to rent a slip at a marina
Smaller boats are the cheapest slips

My dad worked on it alone and single handed a lot
So for 1-3 person I would say it would be a good boat

The negative tracking opinions have a lot to do with the keel design
It was a swing keel boat from what I remember
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-19-2015
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Re: Montego 20 - opinions

I swear I replied to this...

Montego 19 was the swing keel model, the Montego 20 was the fixed shoal draft otherwise basically same boat. MONTEGO 20 sailboat specifications and details on

I recall the 19 that we had (father bought new in 1979 I think), was a sturdy little boat for it's size. 3 stayed rig with swept spreaders. Backstay was an afterthought.

Boat wasn't a rocket ship in light air, needed 15 knots to really get in the groove. I was very young at the time, probably 8-9 and was just getting into sailing and crewing... but Dad sailed the boat a lot, and thought it was a decent upgrade from his Oday 17 DS.

Sorry can't tell you about point, as I didn't sail it... just crewed, and was 2 young to have an opinion yet. But we sailed it in all kinds of weather from hot 90+ dead summer no wind, to 30 degrees and a small craft warning up. It was tuck a reef and sail on as the weather picked up. I swear it'd sail on its ear all day and stay dry (its actually the boat that broke my fear of heeling at a young age).

But I can say, which is probably quite obvious, the 20, with it's shoal keel, isn't going to point like a J/24. But to learn on it would be good. It's a pretty spacious 19 footer. Faster and lighter than a Compac 19, but easier to tow as well, but again built lighter so the "quality" not as good. Although again my data was of a NEW boat, during the first 3 years of its life, time might have not treated that now 35+ yo boat well.

Can the ranger do it? Probably. I'd want 4x4 though for getting it out of the water (my personal requirement for slippery ramps). 1700lbs boat alone puts the package to about 2300lbs with trailer and gear (just a guess). Shoal keel means deeper in the water than swing, slightly... enough that the rear wheels will likely be wet, hence 4x4. WE slipped ours, but Dad pulled the boat at the end of the season with his Pontiac Bonneville (at the time same as the Caprice)... so if that helps. Again we were in NC at the time, on Lake Norman, so no need to really haul the boat out except for maintenance (and it was new).

I wouldn't want to rig it every time I launched it, but for long weekends or such yeah it'd be OK.

Thing that sticks in my head most about the boat? It had winches that weren't. They were nothing more than winch shaped Clam cleats.

"Rum Line" a 1982, S2 7.9 - Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.

Last edited by SHNOOL; 03-19-2015 at 02:45 PM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-20-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Montego 20 - opinions

Thank you guys for your input. I am looking into the option to wet-store with keeping trailer in surface storage. I did some digging and my current Ranger would be a little strained to pull that kind of weight. But no big deal because if needed, I would probably rent a full-size for the weekend to do the pulling.
Which leads me to your comments Shnoll regarding rigging. Is it a tedious task to rig the mast only one person? Because the ease (rather lack thereof) of rigging would maybe sway me out of keeping it on the trailer as opposed to wet slip.
The boat I am interested in has the fixed shoal draft keel. This boat comes with good condition outboard so I would plan on motoring about and practice sailing after I take some ASA courses I am signing up for. Thanks again for all the input. And to mention - I am not married to this model, if you might have an alternate make for me to keep an eye out for, I would love any suggestion. In the range of 20' - ease of first time sail - shoal draft - slight cabin accommodation. Thanks lots!
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